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Thursday, August 8, 2013

"Chicken" and Veggie Noodle Casserole

Are you one of those sadistic people who likes to cook hot food when it is hot out? Then this is the dinner for you!  If not... maybe you will save this for a colder day.  John rated it as "one of the top 5" things I've ever made...so keep it in your back pocket, ok!

I adapted this from a magazine.  It was originally supposed to take 9 1/2 hours.  You read that right.  9 1/2 hours.  For dinner.  As if!  (and we are transported to 1994...) It was originally a lasagna, with a white sauce that was absorbed into the whole thing, sitting in your fridge for 8 hours; then baked for 90 minutes.  Who has time for that? I also made everything using the same pot, which, while taking slightly more time, may avert the dishpocalypse that generally occurs in my kitchen anytime I cook.

"Chicken" and Veggie Noodle Casserole

8 oz. egg noodles (I always weigh them; 2 oz= 1 portion)

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 c. carrots, sliced thinly
1/2 c. celery, diced
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. broccoli, diced
1 1/2 c. zucchini, diced
1 package Quorn "chicken"
2-3 mushrooms, diced finely

2 c. milk
7 Tbsp. flour
3 c. vegetable broth
1 15-oz. container reduced-fat ricotta cheese
1/4 c. fresh basil

about 1/2 c. panko for topping

In a large pot, boil enough water to cook the pasta.  Cook the pasta, drain, and pour into baking pan.

Back to the pot; add the oil, onion, garlic, carrots, and celery.  Cook until the onion is translucent, then add the broccoli, zucchini, and Quorn.  Add a bit of water if you need to, in order to keep the veggies cooking and not burning.

Add to the noodles, and mix around a bit.

Now for the sauce.  Over medium heat, mix together the milk and the flour.  After it starts to thicken, add the broth and stir.  Lastly, add the ricotta cheese, and cook until it thickens into a nice sauce, about 5 minutes.  Add the basil.

Pour over the top of the veggies/noodles.  Sprinkle with chopped mozzerella, and cover with the panko.

Bake at 400* for about 35 minutes, until it is all golden and crispy on the top.

Dig in!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Seattle Tilth Chicken Coop Tour; Last Stop!

I love how everyone on this tour made up names for their urban farms.  I don't know if they actually call their houses/yards these names for the rest of the year, but some of them were seriously awesome.  This one? The Goat Justice League.  How could we not go to there?

This house was perched on an extremely steep lot, with an amazing view.  (Just wait.)

Their backyard was equal parts growing area and crazy goat hillclimb.  They used some of this really strong wire mesh (I think it's called "cattle guard" or something like that) to make a vertical squash trellis.

They also had some really lovely flowers- my guess is that they're hollyhocks, but I'm not 100% sure on that.

I wasn't kidding about the view, was I?

And the goats!  This is the stairway down into their area.  Their pen is a multi-level structure, with a way for them to climb around it to the top.

 The steps to the top.

Their own private rooftop!

They had two very special goats that got to live in this climbing paradise.  And some chickens too, their coop is on the underside of the house (you can see them up in the middle picture).  

We had a really great time on the tour this year, and can't wait for next year!